Sunday, May 27, 2007 - 12:00 AM
Stress disorder affects many vets
If you or a family member needs help with post-traumatic stress syndrome or other mental-health problems, the following organizations can provide assistance:
VA Puget Sound Health Care System
206-277-4369 in Seattle
253-583-1609 in American Lake
For help with traumatic brain injury: 206-277-6696
Washington State Department
of Veterans Affairs
This agency contracts with a statewide network of counselors whose services are free to qualified veterans.
For a list of providers:
You may also leave a message with Thomas Schumacher, state program director, at
360-725-2226; 888-320-0512 (pager)
King County Veterans Program also has a network of providers.
For more information, call:
Post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury have emerged as two signature injuries of the Iraq war, and the nation's mental-health system will be grappling with needs of returning veterans and their families for years to come.
• Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder include flashbacks, hyper-vigilance, sleeplessness and depression.
A 2004 New England Journal of Medicine study concluded that from 15 to 17 percent of soldiers returning from Iraq are at risk of the disorder. A recent study by California researchers of Department of Veterans Affairs records found that 25 percent of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans received diagnoses for post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental-health problems.
• Traumatic brain injury includes severe mental impairments from penetrating wounds to the head.
Doctors are documenting much more widespread, milder symptoms of headaches, memory loss, irritability and balance problems from exposure to blasts. In a 22-month study of 13,440 Fort Carson, Colo., soldiers returning from the Middle East, 18 percent suffered from at least a mild form of traumatic brain injury.